Great editing, supportive community at Scribophile

The reason for my latest absence from this blog (aside from a huge pickup in freelance work) is that I’ve joined Scribophile. I love it. And you should join if you’re an aspiring writer.

There are two versions, a free and a premium subscription. Due to my lack of funds, I have the free version, but it’s still a great resource for having my work edited and having people who are well-read provide constructive feedback. In fact, I’ve been inspired to take one of my short stories and try to expand it into a full length novel (which isn’t going very well so far, but I digress).

So far, I’ve posted two chapters for critique. The way the site works is that posted work enters a “spotlight” for others to critique for full “karma points.” As more works are critiqued, they leave the spotlight and others enter in.

So what’s the reward for critiquing? Karma points, which users need in order to post their own work. So, the more works you critique, the more karma you earn, and the more of your writing you can post to the site. Plus, critiquing more posted works gets them out of the spotlight faster so that your own stuff can get there.

Overall, it’s a system that works fairly well. Of course, I have a work waiting for the spotlight for over two weeks now, but that’s just because there are TONS of great writers using the website. Many of the users have been published, and it’s a great community with a lot of advice to share among authors.

Groups, forums, and contests are also available for users to interact with each other outside of critiques and exchange information. The site also has an area to announce publications and promote work, too.

Overall, my experience this far has been wonderful. I highly encourage joining!

Again, that’s Scribophile.com

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If You Read Anything Today, Read This.

If you’re like me, you’re a Thought Catalog junkie and have already read this. But for any who were busy today and might have missed it, this essay by Oliver Miller deserves a read:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/why-i-write/

Here’s a snippet:

“99% of my time is spent procrastinating as compared to 1% of actual writing: a terrible ratio. We procrastinate because we’re afraid of doing something badly, or because we’re trying to avoid something onerous. Of course I’m trying to defend my own procrastination here, but it seems to me that if you’re not a little afraid when you sit down to write something, then you’re doing something wrong.”

Enjoy!

Use Your Experiences

This sounds pretty “white girl problems” -esque, but I turned in my apartment keys over the weekend and officially moved back home to eastern PA now that I’ve graduated from college. I thought, being a twenty-something girl who’s had her fair share of boyfriends, that I knew what heartbreak felt like. But I honestly feel like I broke up with my apartment and my heart is aching.

It’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I always get this weird mix of emotions that I absolutely cannot put words to. Never did I think I’d ever be at a loss for words to describe anything, let alone an emotion, but I am truly incapable of coming up with a word to accurately convey what I feel about the entire experience: graduating, leaving State College, and moving back home. “Nostalgia” comes close, “heartbreak” comes closer, and “depressed” is a term I usually reserve for people who are diagnosed with the noun form.

But now to tie this back into writing…

Despite how downright depressed I really do feel at times, this experience is great for getting my mind back into the creative writing mode. Each night I’ve tried to sit down to explore these emotions and try to figure out what words will describe and evoke the same feelings in readers, which is tough, considering I don’t have any established vocabulary that gets the job done the way I want it done. It’s forcing me to think long and hard and actually consider my word choices.

The point here is that when we have these tough experiences, even ones that don’t seem to be so tough in the long run, it’s important for us as writers to write about them. What better way to describe an emotion than to describe what it feels like when you’re actually feeling it at that very moment! It’s the very definition of writing what you know! And it doesn’t have to be just for sadness, but happiness, joy, excitement, relief… the list goes on. It’ll only make your writing better to readers.

With that, I’m off to try to find words for my feelings! Happy writing!

 

Was Perusing Tumblr Today…

And discovered the “writing” tag. I mean, I knew it was always there, of course, but I decided to actually legitimately read it today. I was impressed with how many people simply pour their souls out into a couple lines of poetry for all the world to search on tumblr without so much as a disclaimer. And here I’m only ballsy enough to put links to my edited and pre-published work!

But yes, the writing tag on tumblr. If you’re looking for a confidence boost, I highly recommend it. There’s just something about seeing other people do what you are trying to do that makes it seem a lot easier and less intimidating. Here’s the link, if you’re not familiar with tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/writing

Hope this helps anyone who’s in the space between having written and polished a project and hesitating to take the plunge into actually putting it out there for others to read. Good luck and happy writing!

A Great Twitter Account To Follow

This nifty twitter account was retweeted on my feed earlier today. It’s @AdviceToWriters, and from the quick perusal of the author’s past tweets, it appears that the account tweets mainly quotes, links, and other tidbits of wisdom for writers. The particular RT that I saw read:

Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators. STEPHEN FRY

According to the account info, there’s a website by the same author. You’ll have to forgive me if this is already a mega popular site, but hopefully others who also live under a rock will find it helpful and inspiring!

Don’t Struggle to Finish!

I found this great post in the “Questions and Quandaries” section of the Writer’s Digest website. It’s about finding that time to actually finish a writing project, be it a novel or a short story.

The author makes three sound suggestions for making visible progress in your writing. Here’s the questions that prompted such excellent, clean advice from the people over at WD:

“Q: I am a working mom and frustrated writer. I have been writing a story for several months, but now find myself stuck. I know what the story is about, I have a very detailed and a clear mental image of the characters in my head. I am currently in the process of fleshing out the story, but what next? I don’t know anything about getting into this field, and outside of college, have never written such a long and involved story. What advice and directions can you suggest to a writing virgin? —Val M”

And here’s the link to the entire post: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/writing-advice/how-to-finish-that-novel

I think #1 is absolutely KEY. If you can’t take at least 15 measly minutes out of your entire day to find time to write something, how can you call yourself a writer? Even dedicating a small amount of time to a writing project will guarantee progress.

PS: For those still interested, here’s another article (also from Writer’s Digest) about the debate on short story and novel lengths! It has some helpful tips on how to make your manuscript more marketable, too!

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/marketing/novel-and-short-story-word-counts

Being an “Effective Writer”

Got another writing blog to share with everyone!

This one’s by Jeff Goins. You can find him at http://goinswriter.com/. Skim through his about page. Goins talks about the original intent of his blog and comes to the realization that there’s a “community of like-minded individuals sharing many of the same struggles.” I love this!  I think many writers/bloggers can relate, too.

After all, I began my own blog (which is going on one week strong already! Yippee!) to connect with other writers and hopefully learn from them and maybe teach them a thing or two myself. I’m sure lots of others do the same!

Anyway, the post I want to share from Goins’ blog is called “How to Be an Effective Writer.” He details his five recommendations for new authors on how to improve. Here’s a quote:

“As an aspiring writer, you want to get your point across without much difficulty, and that takes intentionality. Forget about being a “good” writer. That’s subjective. You want to be an effective writer and accomplish what you set out to do. Here are five tips for how to be an effective writer…”

I’m especially a fan of the first tip. My grandmother did almost the same thing when I was very little and just starting to read and write! The rest of Jeff’s post can be found at this link: http://goinswriter.com/writing-tips/how-to-be-an-effective-writer/

Hope you find it as useful as I did! Happy writing!